Food Freedom. What is it? What does it look like? And why am I talking about it? Well, food freedom is a way of approaching how you look at food. It is a way of eating that I have been practicing for quite awhile now, and it has made me happier than ever before! Let me share with you why I now, and forever will, stand for food freedom.
As you all know by now, I have been through a lot with food. My eating disorder encompassed restriction, cutting out foods, trying different diets, etc. So I can assure you, because I have experienced it first-hand, that diets, controlling your food, eliminating certain foods, or anything else to this extent won’t solve your issues or make you happy and they definitely don’t make you ‘trendy like the girls on Instagram’. Food rules only causes problems, stress, and so much more.
We live in a world that is heavily rooted in diet culture, there is no questioning that. No matter where you are, if food is involved, so are diets. For those of you who aren’t familiar, diet culture looks a little something like this:
“I can’t eat that, there are too many carbs.”
“I’m on a diet, I can only eat X amount of calories.”
“Donuts are bad. Salad is good.”
“I’m on a sugar detox.”
“I have to run X amount of miles if I want to have cake tonight.”
“Sorry I am gluten/dairy/sugar/soy-free (without an allergy or a legitimate reason to eat so).”
These are just a few examples, but this type of thinking and talk is all around us. So many of our friends and family are falling prey to this type of lifestyle that they believe will solve all of their issues or make them ‘healthy’. People think that food is the root of their issues. That if they control their eating, all will be well. Well let me tell you: DIETS DON’T WORK. Diets lead to depression, to anger, to deprivation, to the feeling that we are failures, to the idea that we are less than. You should know right now that when it comes to food, you cannot ‘fail’. When there are no rules, or no restrictions, there cannot be a right and wrong. It is only when you’re on a diet that the diet can (and always will) fail you.
This is where food freedom comes in. Food freedom is not a diet, there are no guidelines, there are no numbers involved, there is no restriction or no labels. You’re 100% completely to eat whatever you want. It’s all about following your intuition. Food freedom, to me, means that I allow myself to eat whatever it is that my body/cravings wants with no restrictions. There is no such thing as ‘too much fat’ or ‘I don’t deserve it’ anymore. Nope, I am free with food.
Allowing myself to be free with food has allowed me to be free in life. How many amazing memories do you have ordering pizza at midnight with your bestie? Or going out for cocoa with your mom? These happy, joy-filled memories are just as important to our health as eating veggies or fruits are. When you have food rules, you miss out on these kind of opportunities in life. Do you really want to hand over the power to take away some of the most precious joys in life to a food rule that ells you that cake is something to fear? Or allow an online Pinterest ‘fitness coach’ tell you that you can only have two hard boiled eggs for breakfast? Not only is that completely wrong and unhealthy (the exact opposite of wellness), it just isn’t worth ruining your happiness for either. Not to mention, why would you want to pass up the food itself? Have you ever had homemade gelato or eaten a chocolate chip pancake straight from the griddle with warm syrup? Egg whites and rice cakes will never compare.
A common fear with food freedom is: If I am allowed to eat WHATEVER I want, won’t I only eat pizza and brownies? What about my health/nutrition? The thing about being free with food is that there are no restrictions… You have full permission to eat whatever you want! If I am always allowed to have a cookie whenever, why would I eat twenty a day? Or if you were to eat pizza every night for a whole month, it wouldn’t be as good as when you order it only when the cravings hit or when it sounds good. Eating ‘junk’ foods for every meal every single day wouldn’t make most people feel great, so you most-likely won’t want to do it all the time. When you have the ability to honor your cravings at any point, most of the time you’re going to find yourself eating more nutritious meals! I don’t know about you, but I love to feel energized and to make sure that I am offering my body plenty of fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, etc. That is why I love to eat the foods that energize me, offer my body nutrients, and keep me feeling great because that is when I function best! I love to eat real and whole foods a good percentage of the time because they make me feel amazing and I know that my body loves it. When you’re free with food, your body learns to find its own balance and will learn to love (most) all foods!
As you all know, I do believe that everyone is a completely unique and different in their own ways. So I do believe that there are definitely some exceptions to eating absolutely anything. For some people certain foods cause digestive issues, they cause allergy symptoms, may cause skin rashes, etc. If you think that it may be a food causing an issue that you’re experiencing, I would always suggest you go see a doctor! Self-diagnosing is becoming such a common action among our generation, but it shouldn’t be. There is nothing that is ‘cool’ or ‘trendy’ about cutting out foods for no reason. Gluten, sugar, and other foods groups get so much grief in our society for no reason. There is nothing wrong with these foods… they are not evil nor will they hurt you! They are to be enjoyed! They are foods that offer us energy just as anything else! I am also understanding of people who abstain from animal products for ethical reasons as well! And then of course, maybe you just don’t care for a certain food. I have the cutest little niece in the world who I have only watched eat about two desserts in her ten years of life (I know, crazy that girl is!), but it is just her personal preference. When it comes to leaving foods out of your diet, it’s my belief that you shouldn’t restrict yourself of anything unless you have a legitimate reason. There are no ‘bad’ foods, and there are no foods that should be feared, so there is no reason to cut anything out!
Food freedom is the ability to eat for mental health and for physical health and even for emotional health. Food freedom is giving yourself permission to eat pasta and salad, chocolate and vegetables, desserts and fruits, peanut butter and Nutella, mochas and herbal teas… you get the pictures. You can have carbs, fat, proteins, sugar… You can have it all! You let your body guide you because everything is healthy in moderation. Don’t live your life allowing foods or rules around them dictate you. Food is not bad, it’s the fear of food that is bad.
So where am I going with this all? I just wanted to share with you this amazing philosophy that allows you to be completely free with, and enjoy all foods, no matter what society says. I am so excited that I have begun my journey on the path of food freedom and I hope that you will all consider it as well! Life is so short, it is such a blessing, and food is a big part of our lives! Food brings happiness, it brings community, and well… it tastes good! We all deserve to enjoy all aspects of food in a healthy way!
One final thought to consider: When you begin to ‘take control’ of food by going on diets or by restricting, what happens? You will become preoccupied with the thoughts of the foods that are now off limits to you because it is human nature to want what we can’t have. So you tell me: Are you really the one ‘taking control’, or is it your food that is taking control of you? Food only has as much power as we allow it to. So let’s take back power over our lives and quit allowing diet culture to rule us.
(I inserted some photos of some recent eats of mine: Donuts and salads… this is true freedom!)